Heat wave: “The hospital is absolutely not ready”, warns candidate Nupes and emergency doctor Loïc Pen
Left-wing alliance, abstention, heat waves, emergency room crisis… Two days before the second round of legislative elections, EURACTIV spoke with the Nupes candidate and emergency doctor Loïc Pen.
Loïc Pen is a NUPES candidate for the legislative elections in the 7th constituency of Oise. He is also an emergency physician.
Does NUPES have a chance of winning the second round of legislative elections on Sunday?
We have a chance, yes, but it depends on the mobilization of the abstainers. On paper, we win, but we saw it in the first round there is a strong abstention then, which certainly allows us to be in the lead, but it is not a foregone conclusion.
For many left-wing voters, the presidential election had marked Emmanuel Macron’s victory and was “over”. There, there are many people who realize that yes, we can have a majority on the left in the Assembly. In what proportions will we mobilize them? This is what will make the result.
Could this alliance of left-wing parties hold up over the long term despite internal differences?
No one knows. In one form or another, the discussions, actions and common electoral forces will continue. Will it be in this form? I don’t know how to say it.
There are differences of opinion between us. Despite everything, the legislative campaign was also pleasing to the fact that all these left-wing activists meet, discuss and find points of convergence. What we did there won’t go away.
You are both a candidate and an emergency physician. Would you like to be the relay for health professionals in the National Assembly?
Yes of course. Not only that because my constituency is both rural and urban and has all the problems that the French can encounter. But I have this specificity of having worked for a long time in the hospital as head of department, as a doctor, and of being also a trade unionist in the health sector.
I will echo what we have experienced, what we are still experiencing and the proposals that we have been making for years, which have never been taken into account by successive governments for more than 20 years.
If you are elected, what would be your first proposal? Where is the emergency?
Stop closing beds and reopening them. We must launch a major training plan. If we had started training nurses during the pandemic, they would be out of school today.
Then, we must invest more in the permanence of care, that is to say the night and weekend guards. Today, it is essentially based on the public hospital, with low salaries and many constraints. It must be more attractive not only for doctors in the public sector, but also in the private sector.
You mention the private sector. Do you think that public-private complementarity could be one of the solutions to the hospital crisis in France?
There must be complementarity between the public and the private sector, but not with the private for-profit sector. The private sector must return to a logic of private establishments participating in the public hospital service (PS-PH), that is to say foundations, associations, but certainly not with shareholders behind.
There is an ethical conflict between naming large groups that want to make money on health and health. Social security and its financing are not intended to fatten shareholders.
In your words, “emergencies no longer hold”. What is the state of the public hospital today?
Catastrophic. Emergencies no longer hold for two reasons. Firstly because of the difficulty in recruiting under the conditions of remuneration and work that we are made to live with, as I mentioned earlier.
Then, we closed 100,000 beds in 20 years, or 20% of our hospitalization capacity. We went from 500,000 to 400,000. At the same time, we have an increasing population and a grandpa-boom that we could have largely anticipated.
Patients end up in the emergency room in unacceptable hospitalization conditions. This scares away health professionals who no longer support this situation of mistreatment because they have the impression of being the actors. They are there for nothing. It is political choices that have caused this situation.
In terms of political choices, Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Bourguignon announced at the end of May the launch of a “flash mission” and the first emergency measures…
Who are we laughing at ? There was no need for a flash mission to know where we are. One has the impression that they have been in charge of the state for a quarter of an hour. They’ve been accountants on the balance sheet for five years. And then, suddenly, they wake up in June. I will not comment further on this story. It is absurd.
We are facing a heat wave these days which is likely to be repeated in the coming weeks and summers to come. Is the hospital ready for a new influx of patients?
The hospital is absolutely not ready. We have just experienced a Covid epidemic which has cruelly shown the shortcomings of the hospital which we have been denouncing for years. And then we are asked “And the heat wave? » The situation is still the same. They haven’t changed their policy. They continue not to change the governance of the hospital and ultimately leave it to the financiers. It’s not going to get better.
The question now is to take a completely different path, to democratize decision-making in health, to refinance the hospital by putting an end to the T2A, among other things, and by increasing the ONDAM.
The heat wave and the new climatic phenomena completely overtake the hospital. We have still not initiated an ecological transition in our economy. We continue to promote carbon energies. We can’t all of us [les soignants, NDLR] ask. There is a climate policy to put in place and Emmanuel Macron and his governments have been condemned for their inaction.
Is there a risk to be feared for populations at risk such as the elderly?
Obviously. I hope that we will not be in the situation of the big heat wave, that people are more prepared. At least now there is an awareness of the danger. But it remains a dangerous situation for isolated, fragile people, who will have difficulty coping with these heat waves. We risk finding them in the hospital and we do not have the means to welcome them today.
Returns to the legislative. Are you confident for Sunday?
I find it hard to say. The key is really going to be the mobilization of abstainers. The fact that we came in first on the left in this constituency was a trigger for many of them. The left had not been in front of the right for 20 years in this constituency, that’s a shock. Will that be enough? I do not know.
If elected, will you continue to practice as a doctor?
Yes. I would be afraid of being too disconnected from the reality of hospitals. What we have experienced in the hospital for twenty years has motivated my political commitment and continues to feed my proposals and my reflections.